Key issues discussed include sustainability and US travel infrastructure.
NEW YORK –The United States Tour Operators Association (USTOA) escorted a group of Active Member tour operators and Associate Members to Washington, D.C., June 6-7, 2023, to advocate for tourism industry issues including sustainability, passport application processing delays, promoting US tourism, Real ID, and more. More than 40 attendees from around the country met with officials in Capitol Hill including various Congressional delegations, members of Congress, and industry representatives.
“USTOA’s eleventh Congressional Caucus was a productive gathering to drive home the value of the travel and tourism industry” said USTOA President & CEO Terry Dale. “It is crucial that we advocate for our industry’s impact, especially in guiding our country to a sustainable and responsible travel and tourism future.”
The caucus started with a morning update from Brian Beall, acting deputy assistant secretary for travel and tourism and director of the National Travel and Tourism Office (NTTO). Beal was appointed as the director of the NTTO in May 2023 and previously held the position of deputy director for Policy and Planning at the office from 2014 to 2019.
Treon Glenn, who is currently serving as the vice president of government relations for the U.S. Travel Association, spoke to the group about sustainability advocacy efforts. Other speakers in the morning portion include Karen Kulhman, senior vice president of government affairs for the American Association of Airport Executives; Kim Graber, deputy assistant general counsel for the U.S. Department of Transportation; Eben Peck, executive vice president, advocacy for the American Society of Travel Advisors, and Fatemeh LeTellier with Pinnacle Travel Docs.
Later in the day, teams of USTOA members visited the Capitol for meetings with leading members of Congress to discuss core issues. Sustainability, diversity, equity, and inclusion, promoting US tourism, passport application processing delays, the Visa processing and waiver program, national parks, travel infrastructure, Cuba travel, aviation consumer protections, and Real ID are among the topics discussed.
Dale continued, “USTOA continues to be an advocate for responsible tourism, and these meetings were a successful way to communicate that directly to our government officials. We are appreciative of both our members who participated and members of Congress who took time to meet and have meaningful conversations.”
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